A Recipe For… Jackass?

Life On The Back Page With Daryl Gay, January 2011

Daryl Gay | January 14, 2011

You’d think that with all the cookbooks on my shelf, at least one of them would have a single recipe for the items I’m hunting.

I mean, I’ve got DU, L.L. Bean, a half-dozen by Justin Wilson and other assorted Cajuns, church cookbooks from yer ma and grandma…

But nothing!

Maybe my faithful readers can help me out here. If you’ve read my book Rabbit Stompin’, you’ll know from the recipes therein that I love to cook, and especially critters that were formerly pretty wild things before meeting me and my boys and being considerably calmed down. So when I go to looking for a way to whip up a batch of whatever, there’s usually at least a starting point in mind. Not here, though; in fact, this deal has been confusing right from the get-go. Lemme tell you about it.

The .30-06 lay across my lap as I scanned the treeline for 500 yards. It was only last year that a three-season hunt had culminated in the taking of a very nice 11-pointer by my son Dylan within a hundred yards of where I now perched. That hunt began when I spotted the buck chasing — and I do mean chasing, like he was out of his everloving gourd — a doe that must have been hotter than a deep-fried jalapeno. He eventually came fairly close — 30 feet! — and I decided to put the safety back on, give things another year or so and let one of the boys take him when he filled out from placekicker to linebacker. That was the plan, and believe it or not other than taking a year longer than we anticipated, it worked just fine.

And now, I’ve just caught quite a bit of rambling, darting movement in the exact same area. Funny how the old butterflies in the gut suddenly come alive all at once and go to flapping like they’re late for an appointment in Tokyo. Here we go again, and this time the guys and I are all in the woods at once.

We’ve got ’em surrounded!

But there’s something a little odd — ain’t there always with me? — about this situation. I’m seeing the darting and chasing, but either  my eyes are playing tricks on me or these deer had a little mastodon in the gene pool. Oh, they’re brown all right. Or at least two of them are. And they each have four legs. But I ain’t seeing no horns and that third little item that they’re chasing — or that’s chasing them — looks like nothing I’ve ever seen in the woods.

Now, let’s see… they’re moving out of the shadows where I can pick ’em up a little better… yeah, now, here we go, put the scope on ’em and…


And Buttermilk. And a jackass whose name I know not.

As panic sets in, you know I gotta start texting, right? We went through this a couple of months back in these pages: how I try to stay in touch when the guys are up trees with large-caliber rifles gripped tightly. Now right this minute, I remind myself that it’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve had a drink, so I’m likely not hallucinating.

Where in the cathair these unridden, unsaddled, unbridled idiots of equine persuasion came from I don’t have a clue, but I can see coronary thrombosis in my near future if one of the fellas gets trigger-happy and puts a Core-Lokt into one of them.

But not to worry. The younger son has already had them in his lap a couple of times — (“Two horses and a donkey don’t sound just exactly like a deer easing through the woods, Dad!”) — and they hadn’t made it to the elder yet.

This is the way I got it figgered: Trigger and Butttermilk were trying to ditch the donkey. Yeah, that’s why they zipped by me; four-legged Larry and Curly were likely hoping I’d be half asleep and rouse up in Infarction Mode just in time to knock off that third stooge for them. Then they could roam on off and do what would-be wild horses naturally do, such as get out onto the nearby highway and take out a vehicle or 10. (From my stand, 18-wheelers screaming down I-16 are so close they tend to drown out most of what I could otherwise hear in the woods.)

I can, however, make out the merry clip-clop of iron-shod hooves, especially when there are 12 of them.

They don’t make it to the big highway, but they do manage to clamber onto a side road before streaking maniacally away when I ah, uh, URGE them onward. Enough said about that.

A little later, as I’m down and bound onward in the truck to collect the chillun, I meet another jackass. This one is also in the road. Astride a four-wheeler.

Seems he’s out searching for some unarmed and dangerous escapees, but since my personal feeling is that maybe he should be home fixing fences, I keep the pedal down and watch his face freeze up as our ships pass in the night, as it were.

“Yeah, I saw him, too, but he never knew I was in the world,” the younger relates later. “Two horses, two jackasses, a four-wheeler and no deer… yep, I’m hunting with you, Dad…”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

But I gotta go now; still searching for that recipe. Somehow or other I have a feeling that this episode may be repeated. And, somewhere out there, there just has to be a recipe for jerked jackass.


Order your copy of Daryl Gay’s books, “Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics,” $19.95 plus $3 S&H and “Life On the Back Page,” $14.95 plus $3 S&H from or 16 Press, 219 Brookwood Drive, Dublin, GA, 31021.

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